Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving Says Mavericks' NBA Finals 'Not Over' Amid 3-0 Deficit

The Dallas Mavericks continue to stay positive despite falling down 3-0 in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, including messasging from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after fouling out of the game against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter during game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after fouling out of the game against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter during game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS — No team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 series deficit. After a 106-99 Game 3 loss against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in what proved to be a game riddled with ups and downs, the Dallas Mavericks now face those daunting circumstances.

"Yeah, that's I think what we talked about after the game, one possession at a time," Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. "We'll watch film tomorrow and get ready for Friday."

Luka Doncic fouled out with 4:12 remaining in regulation after a 22-2 run had cut the Mavericks' deficit from 21 points down to only three. He finished 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Kyrie Irving led the team in scoring with 35 points. It wasn't enough as Dallas struggled with clock management after establishing a 13-point lead in the first quarter, coupled with shooting woes from the supporting cast and untimely defensive shortcomings.

Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after fouling out of the game against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter during game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after fouling out of the game against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter during game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Doncic remains optimistic about the Mavericks' outlook on achieving a rallying effort in the series. "Like I said, it's not over till it's over. We just got to believe. Like I always say, it's first to four," he said. "We're going to stay together. We lose together, we win together. So we got to stay together."

Doncic admitted that after a third game of scoring under 100 points as a team in the series, the Mavericks had to figure some things out but viewed the comeback as a positive. Whether the team has been up or down in a series, having a game-by-game mentality has been embraced but the Celtics have been challenging to solve.

"I think we got to figure out some things. We played three times against them now, so we're getting to know them," Doncic said. "But I think being down 21 in the third game and then coming back was a really positive thing for us."

In order to achieve that impressive run, Doncic emphasized the execution the team used, such as playign with pace, defending, and getting into the paint to score or make passing plays. "Just playing with pace. We played good defense and we played with pace, just driving, kicking," he said. "That's how we got back into the game."

Irving encouraged his team after the loss, using a metaphor to reinforce the need to stay positive. He made clear that the team had to be as aggressive as possible to win Game 4. Whether it's the bazooka or the 50-cal, Irving says he's going to metaphorically bring it.

"Man, I just really think about going home. This is a metaphor here. Just be ready (smiling). Just go home, get the ammo ready, get the bazooka, the 50 cal ready," Irving said. "Get everything ready, because when we come into Game 4, we know we got to shoot our shots and we got to do it with an aggression."

Given how quickly Boston can dial up timely 3-pointers and make necessary plays, Irving views defensive execution as being necesary to tighten up to create separation and maintain it. Dallas thrived early, but the 13-point lead was reduced to only one by the end of the opening period.

"Defensively, we got to finish to do the things that creates that separation for us when we're playing against them," Irving said. "They shoot a lot of tough threes. They really rely on their three-point shot to create that separation for themselves, obviously to create that comfortability."

"We just got to stay positive," Irving said. "For me personally, again, I'm going home, dusting off the tools and just getting ready for a tough Game 4."

The message of positivity was exuded from 20-year-old Dereck Lively II, who finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and two steals. He confidently stated the Mavericks understand what's needed from them to get the job done, now it's a matter of going out and doing it in Game 4 by learning and adapting from what's transpired.

"We all know what it takes. We all know we got to put everything in our minds, our body and our soul into this game," Lively said. "We're watching film, we're talking to one another, we're trying to figure out what we need to do. They're a great team, so you got to give them that. They know how to score. They've been doing this for a long time. We just got to be able to step up, learn and be able to adapt.""

Stick with MavericksGameday for more coverage of the Dallas Mavericks throughout the NBA Finals.

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Grant Afseth

GRANT AFSETH

Grant Afseth is a Dallas Mavericks reporter for MavericksGameday.com and an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth). You can reach Grant at grantafseth35@gmail.com.